What would be a press conference without some pullquotes. It's what we do. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury spoke after all of the National Letters of Intent were faxed and received (via TexasTech PDF). Let's do this.
Kingsbury talked about recruiting this year versus last year, where he was scrambling to keep the class together.
Q. Can you talk about the process this year versus last year and having the time to go out and get your game plan together?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, completely different. Last year we were scrambling to try to put a class together that had really fallen apart with the way the departure went. So this year we had a year to get to know those kids and build relationships and really feel good about the character of this class. High-character kids, on and off the field, and good players.
Kingsbury saw what we all saw, which was there was almost zero depth at defensive line and there had to be some numbers along the defensive line.
Q. Can you talk more about that and the decision to bring in so many JUCO players to help out right away?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, just more needs than anything. We graduated a bunch of those D-line men and thought that was an area we had to get better at right away. One of them here on campus, Keland McElrath, and the others are coming this summer. Big impact players. Bigger bodies than we had last year initially. They have to prove to be good players, but we're excited about their potential.
Both MikeTTU and I thought that the best athlete was Ian Sadler, Kingsbury talked about Ian Sadler possibly playing early and comparing him to Wes Welker.
Q. Do you anticipate Ian Settler to play immediately?
COACH KINGSBURY: I do. I hate to say the Wes Welker mode, but has the same elite level soccer background that Wes had, and very similar in persona and does some things that look a lot like him. So we expect him to come in and contribute right away.
Found it interesting to see Kingsbury talk a bit about Tevin Madison, the lone high school defensive commit outside of Texas.
Q. Can you talk about how you found Tevin Madison?
COACH KINGSBURY: Another one that Coach Curtis found. Loved his film. He had hit a bunch of stuff going early. He got hurt, and we hung with him through the process, but he's another guy that played slot, played DB, great hands, great ball skills, very quick. A really good kid. Loved Texas Tech from the day he got here. He's from Alabama, but loved the atmosphere, loved the coaches, and he's hung with us the entire time.
Maybe the MVP of the 2014 class, at least late in the game, where Darrin Chiaverini maybe helped close some of the JUCO players from California.
Q. You talked about Coach Chiaverini how he helped you down the stretch from California?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, Coach Chiaverini, coming from Riverside out there in California. We signed the tackle from his school and another kid from Mt. SAC, Shaquille Davis. We expect them both to play right away. Those were huge gets for us. He did a great job in his transition being able to work through those relationships, and that was big.
I do love the high school safety commits and Kingsbury talked about Derrick Dixon, Payton Hendrix and Jah'Shawn Johnson.
Q. Talk about the high school safeties coming in in Dixon, Hendrix and Johnson, what do you see out of each of those guys? Do you think we might see one of them this year?
COACH KINGSBURY: I think we'll see all of them. We brought a bunch of bodies in to play special teams and defense. So even if they're not starting on defense, I expect them to play a lot of special teams. Dixon is a kid, just a ball hawk. Caused, I think, ten fumbles his junior year or something like that, always around the football. Payton is a long safety. Big time guy that had a bunch of offers. He'll come downhill and hit you. Then Jah’Shawn Johnson is a little undersized for most people, but dominated the games he was in. Any of the coaches you ask around the DFW area rave about the type of player he is.
Signing two JUCO offensive linemen that already have teh size could prove to be a significant addition to the team in 2014.
Q. Did you get the size on the offensive line?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, we brought in two junior college kids that we think can come in and start and play right away for us. A couple high school kids that are big kids. They'll have to adjust to our schemes to be able to make that impact. But they play the way we like. They play hard and mean, and that's what we're trying to improve upon up front.
And, maybe the best, for last. Kingsbury was asked about QB Patrick Mahomes early, but I thought this was better. Two things happened here, which is that Kingsbury refers to Manziel as "the guy I coached at A&M" and he actually talks about what Mahomes does in terms of his ability and what he's able to do. Kingsbury notes that Mahomes isn't at all tapped out in terms of talent.
Q. What do you think makes him stand out? I saw a few clips of how he manages to extricate himself from different situations. Is he good on his feet as well?
COACH KINGSBURY: That's what I would say is his biggest deal is being able to extend the play. He reminds me of the guy I coached at A&M just with that ability. He keeps his eyes down field? When everything is breaking down, he still can see down field and find receivers down field. I don't think he's tapped out at all. I still think the football side of it, he hasn't worked it as much just because he plays all the other sports. I think when we refine his mechanics and get him in our offense, I think the sky is the limit.